Twitter Is Doubling Its Character Count For Almost All Users

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Twitter announced Tuesday that it is expanding its distinctive 140 character count twofold, “so every person around the world could express themselves easily in a Tweet.”

The social media company originally said in late September that it was testing the extension of the unique threshold. The latest statement from Twitter is making that experiment permanent for almost all users — a move many Twitter users are worried will adulterate the integrity of the platform.

“During the first few days of the test many people Tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after behavior normalized (more on this below),” Aliza Rosen, product manager at Twitter, wrote in an official company blog post. “We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people Tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.”

In other words, Rosen claims that users weren’t abusing the increase and were only using more characters when absolutely necessary.

In the previous announcement of the trial, Rosen explained that certain languages, like English, are not able to communicate as effectively and tersely as others.

“Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain,” Rosen and Ikuhiro Ihara, a senior software engineer, wrote on the September blog post. “Interestingly, this isn’t a problem everywhere people Tweet. For example, when I (Aliza) Tweet in English, I quickly run into the 140 character limit and have to edit my Tweet down so it fits. Sometimes, I have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or I don’t send my Tweet at all. But when Iku Tweets in Japanese, he doesn’t have the same problem. He finishes sharing his thought and still has room to spare.”

Due to these difference in various languages’ outward brevity, the pilot test for the expansion applied to every one available on the platform except for Japanese, Chinese and Korean. (RELATED: Twitter Is Trying To Make It Easier For You To Go On Tirades)

Now, after “looking at all the data, we’re … rolling the change out to all languages where cramming was an issue*” Rosen said, with the asterisk pointing to information saying “Japanese, Korean, and Chinese will continue to have 140 characters because cramming is not an issue in these languages.”

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Eric Lieberman